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Joris Gijsenbergh

Abstract

The Entente Internationale Anti-Communiste (EIA) and the antifascist Comité Mondial contre la Guerre et le Fascisme (CMGF) used similar strategies in order to coordinate the fight against extremism. Nevertheless, their conferences and publications conveyed different messages about ‘democracy’ and ‘Europe’. The conservative EIA mainly defended Christian and bourgeois values, which it regarded as the core of European civilisation. The anticommunists rarely asked for the protection of democracy. If they did, they preferred a disciplined democracy with a strong executive and strict laws. The CMGF explicitly claimed to defend democracy. Its communist members associated proletarian democracy with equality, while the left-wing intellectuals based essential democracy on freedom. To them, liberty was the essence of European culture. These world views invoked debate within the EIA and the CMGF and distrust between both networks. As a result, there was no unified front of democrats against anti-democrats in the interwar years.